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Vikings 2024 NFL draft scouting report: Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy

Welcome to SKOL Search!

This series will be your guide to the 2024 draft class. From scouting reports to mock drafts and exploring different scenarios, we will be covering the NFL draft and the future of the Minnesota Vikings from all angles.

The focus of the draft class in this space will be on the Vikings’ major needs at quarterback, running back, defensive line and edge rusher. We will also focus on wide receiver since it’s a loaded class and an increased chance to get a Stefon Diggs-type steal in the later rounds.

The Vikings are slated to have 9 picks going into the NFL draft and they need to make the most out of them.

Background

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

J.J. McCarthy

  • Michigan

  • Height-6030

  • Weight-202 lbs

  • Third-year Junior

  • 4-Star recruit per 247 Sports

  • Stats: 455-of-668 (68.1%), 5.865 yards, 46 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 154 carries, 576 yards, 10 touchdowns

  • Games watched: Bowling Green 2023, Minnesota 2023, UNLV 2023, Ohio State 2023

Strengths

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy is a true dual-threat. He isn’t what you would consider a dynamic runner but can easily get chunks of yards on the ground. He can also sellthe rushing threat to the defense on designed plays and by moving in the pocket.

McCarthy is a fluid mover and moves with intention. Doesn’t panic under pressure and can throw in the face of pressure.

McCarthy has both active feet when maneuvering in the the pocket to avoid pressure and calm feet when in a clean pocket. McCarthy can get himself ready to throw at a moment’s notice.

Throwing motion is good for McCarthy. Keeps it compact and can utilize multiple arm angles

Weaknesses

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Tends to stare down his targets down the field.

Decision-making can be spotty. Needs to see defenders better down the field and manipulate them to open up throws.

Forces the ball too often. Needs to be comfortable taking the checkdown and throwing the ball away more often.

Deep accuracy isn’t consistent for McCarthy. Too often the ball either dies on him or it’s poorly placed. Did have the second-highest completion percentage over 20 yards, but throws of 40+ yards are where the issue lies. He is lethal in the 10-30 yard range

Turnover-worthy plays are high at 10 in 2023, but concentrated in two rough games with seven of them coming against Bowling Green and Maryland. Neither game had his head coach.

McCarthy had multiple games under 20 passing attempts (17, 16, 13, 10). Unsure why they were so low, but a combination of the running game and lack of faith in the offensive line are the likely contributing factors.

The scheme also seems to hold McCarthy back. The Wolverines use a pro style scheme that relies on play-action and shot plays in the passing game. He hasn’t had a lot of opportunities to really let it rip.

Overview

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Arm Strength

8.1/10

Accuracy

8.4/10

Mechanics

8.5/10

Ball Placement

8.0/10

Throwing Motion

8.6/10

Progressions

8.0/10

Decision Making

8.0/10

Functional Mobility

8.8/10

Durability

8.0/10

Poise

8.0/10

Grade

82.4/100 Second Round

It’s evident that McCarthy has talent to work with. His issues are ones that will likely need a redshirt year. Either that or experience in a system that will allow him to do more in terms of  progressions and reads. He likely won’t show a lot of growth in that Michigan scheme which would be a good reason for him to enter the draft.

Will McCarthy be a first round pick? Possibly. For different reasons, I think McCarthy will have a similar draft stock to Will Levis. Some view him has a true franchise QB while others won’t due to the question marks. Ultimately, I think McCarthy goes between pick 15-60.

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Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire